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New challenge for rugby star

Maciu Malo
Sunday, January 19, 2014

FROM rugby battle fields to war zones, Rugby World Cup Sevens winner and British Army soldier Apolosi Satala has surrendered his colourful rugby career and near-death experiences to the Almighty Lord.

Being there and done that, the former Flying Fijian flanker is an All Nations Church pastor in England — after more than 10 years of playing and 13 years of service as a British Army soldier.

Recalling his achievements both in rugby and as a soldier, 'Pastor' Apo admitted it was through the guidance of the Almighty Lord that enabled him to successfully "climb Mount Everest" and be the person he is today.

The soft-spoken Namoli villager from Lautoka said words were not enough to describe the guidance and protection of the Almighty Lord which triggered him to devote the rest of his life as a servant of God.

"Words cannot express what God has done to my life and I want to spend the rest of my life as his servant," said Satala.

"It's a mind-blowing experience when I look back at my rugby achievements and 13 years of service in the British Army.

"I thank God for his guidance — when I went to the UK to join the British Army I thought that was the end of my rugby career but little did I know that the Lord had a plan for me.

"Being recalled to play for the Fiji 7s and 15s rugby was a humbling experience and to win the Melrose Cup for Fiji in 2005 is an achievement I will always cherish.

"In addition to my rugby achievement, I thank the Lord for saving my life from the jaws of death during my deployment to war zone countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan."

"I have seen lives being lost in Iraq and Afghanistan and I am forever grateful that the Lord has guided me to go past those events unhurt."

The former Gloucester and Sales rugby rep said apart from his allegiance to the Lord, rugby would always be part of his life.

He said he is also spreading rugby gospel to his fellow countrymen back in England.

"At the moment I am taking each day as it comes, I am a pastor back in England and I am managing my life well and thanking God every day that my future is in his hands.

"There is no other mentor that I can go to like God and apart from spreading the gospel of the Lord I am also spreading the rugby gospel to my fellow countrymen in England."

Satala is here with his family for a break.

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